1/10/18 – Boise’s “Geothermal Gem”

Since the late 19th century, Boise’s geothermal energy has been an economic and cultural driver of the city’s development. A variety of entrepreneurs capitalized on the region’s active geologic inheritance to provide Boiseans with cheap and sustainable energy and, in doing so, pioneered the first geothermal heating district in the United States. Forty years later,… Read the Rest »

1/3/18 – Bringing Boise’s Geothermal Past, Forward: “The Heat Beneath Your Feet”

Idaho’s extreme landscapes allude to the state’s violent geologic past, from the towering 12,000-foot peaks of the Lost River Range to Craters of the Moon National Monument. Periodic episodes of volcanic activity shaped Idaho’s sceneries and, in many ways, continue to define the state today. The cinder cones and lava plumes endowed Idaho with rare-earth… Read the Rest »

10/25/17 – Dirty Water: Thoughts on John Wesley Powell, the Paria River, and Surveying the American West

For millennia, southwest Utah’s Paria River has carved its way through the coarse, multi-layered sandstone formations that comprise the Paunsaugunt plateau from which it descends. After a 75-mile journey through the wilderness of what is now the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the Paria, which means “dirty water,” descends through the Vermillion Cliffs for another twenty… Read the Rest »

9/30/15 – Defining the Waters of the United States

This past summer the state of our country’s water resources came to a boiling point. As drought pervaded and fires scorched much of the American West, conflict also simmered in Washington D.C. over the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) redefining of the phrase “waters of the United States” under… Read the Rest »

6/24/15 – Big History on the Snake River

A few weekends ago, I paddled the Snake River from Swan Falls Dam to Celebration Park. The outing was recreational, but it also served as a fantastic history lesson. And not just any history lesson; this was a place-based, riverine version of Big History. In this new history curriculum, geared for high school students but… Read the Rest »

5/6/15 – Early Snow Surveys

While reading correspondence from the Bureau of Reclamation recently, SHRA researchers came across indications that some of the earliest snow surveys, dating back to the early 1920s, were conducted in the Boise River watershed. This piqued our interest in the early history of snow surveys and how technological developments have improved their accuracy. At a… Read the Rest »

2/4/15 – Visiting History: Yuma, AZ

Editor’s Note:  Today’s blog is courtesy of SHRA researcher HannaLore Hein.  All photo credits are hers. In December 2014, I was fortunate enough to visit Yuma, Arizona. To some people’s surprise, the city is actually known for many things and has a lot to offer both tourists and locals alike. Located in the southwest corner of… Read the Rest »

1/28/15 – The Art of Flood Control

When you spend as much time reading through archival documents as we do at SHRA, sometimes there’s nothing as nice as flipping the page to find not a letter or report, but a drawing. Recently, Army Corps of Engineers papers from the early 1970s yielded just such a find. The sketches – each offering a… Read the Rest »

1/26/15 – Fighting Over Water

‘“I believe I hit him first,”’ the farmer reported. ‘“Then he picked up a chair and hit me over the head.’” Two men fighting in the American West in the late 1920s might not seem related to SHRA’s research. But in this case, the farmer was furious that he was not receiving enough irrigation water… Read the Rest »

1/14/15 – The Great River of the West

Right before the holidays, SHRA researchers found themselves swimming in sources relating to the development of the Columbia River. Like so many other rivers, the Columbia faced a plethora of competing interests, such as hydroelectric power, fish, navigation, irrigation, and recreation. Documentation on the subject was vast but one source in particular intrigued us. Around… Read the Rest »

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